Sports Diplomacy is a growing concept which has implications for the Sport for Development sector because it examines how and why different stakeholders engage in and around sport. ConnectSport spoke to Dr Claire Jenkin, the Project Investigator at the University of Hertfordshire and Dr Verity Postlethwaite, a Research Associate being employed on this project by the University of Hertfordshire. The project is also partnered with Professor Emma Sherry, of Swinburne University of Technology, Australia.
Q. Hi Claire and Verity. What is meant by the term ‘Sports Diplomacy’?
A. Diplomacy fundamentally means the skill of dealing with people. In practice, it is about tact, persuasion and negotiation. Therefore when it comes to sport, using the term 'Sports Diplomacy' enables us to consider not 'what is sport' but how sport is communicated, negotiated and represented by a complex number of individuals and organisations in a variety of contexts. It is not a one-size-fits all lens but instead allows us to capture a wide variety of perspectives from across the elite, grassroots, and development sport spectrum of activities.
Q. What has this got to do with the Sport for Development sector?
A. Well, sport for development is one item on a long list that could also include elite sport, grassroots sport, sports development (not to be confused with sport FOR development), sport for social good, and sport AND development…. the list could be endless. Many sport for development projects and programmes embed tact, persuasion and negotiation in their everyday practices, for example decision-making around programme development, funding decisions, opportunities for collaboration, and changes to policy or strategy documents or agendas. So if your organisation uses sport to engage with the international community through events, programmes, leveraging or trade outcomes, and your work is based/funded by either the UK and/or Australia, then we’d love to hear from you.
Q. How will this survey help?
A. We want to understand how sport practitioners identify and embody sport diplomacy practices, and how and why these practices may occur. This has an impact on wider discussion, such as what role does sports development and sport for development play on wider society, including its impact on health, social integration and also politics. We’re here to add to the debate by using the lens and terminology of ‘Sports Diplomacy’.
Q. Who is supporting the research, and where can we find more details?
A. The research project on 'Sports Diplomacy' practices in the UK and Australia is funded by the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. For more details on the study itself, we’ve written a blog. To gather insights on this from people working in sport for development, we’ve developed a short (20-30 mins) survey. We’d love to invite anyone in and around projects based, funded or linked to the UK and/or Australia to support our research and complete the survey.
Q. How can ConnectSport’s audience get involved?
A. Review our research project next steps:
- Please send and fill out the survey: SURVEY LINK
- Contact us for further information, as we are very much conducting this review in a dialogic and consultative way: Email Claire here
- Follow our project for updates and additional conversations: via Twitter [@crjenkin, @verity_pos and @emmaesherry] or this blog.
Pic credit: Albion in the Community, Football Beyond Borders.